Kelowna’s homegrown two-time Olympian is paving the way to a third Olympics after an awe-inspiring race in Berlin.
Malindi Elmore is the current Canadian marathon champion, a two-time Olympian, the UBC Okanagan cross country coach and mother to two boys.
On Sunday, Sept. 24, Elmore crossed the line at the iconic Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:23:30, which is a new personal best and Olympic standard qualifying time for the 43-year-old athlete.
She exemplifies resilience and determination in her everyday life and had to overcome many obstacles, including a wildfire that forced her family to evacuate, during the build to her fourth marathon of the year.
When the Grouse Complex Wildfire spread across Okanagan Lake in the middle of the night on August 17, and sparked a new blaze less than 500m from her home, Elmore and her husband had to wake their two children, pack up and leave immediately.
While spending weeks away from home may not seem like the ideal build to a marathon, Elmore did not let the fire stop her from achieving greatness.
“It’s both the purpose and pursuit of a goal that anchors me from the mundane daily life and the unpredictable chaos that comes from being a person,” said Elmore ahead of the race.
Now that she has run an Olympic qualifying time, Elmore will likely be selected to represent Canada at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Many athletes clinched new personal bests in the competitive race on their own quests to secure a spot at the Olympics.
Elmore was surrounded by incredible performances in Berlin, with Tigst Assefa of Ethiopia breaking the women’s world record in the marathon with a time of 2:11:53.
World record holder Eliud Kipchoge topped the podium in the men’s field for the fifth time in Berlin.
#berlinmarathon Eliud Kipchoge, winner of the Berlin Marathon says: "I always learn from every race and every victory. I'm very happy to win for the 5th time in Berlin. And I shall use these lessons in my preparation for the Olympics.— BMW BERLIN-MARATHON (@berlinmarathonE) September 24, 2023
Elmore first represented Canada at the Olympics in 2004, when she raced on the track in the 1500m event.
After retiring from racing on the track and the birth of her first son she transitioned to triathlon. After a successful stint as a multi-sport athlete, Elmore returned to running in 2019 after the birth of her second child.
One year later she once again donned the maple leaf this time as a marathon runner at the Olympics.
“There is no best-before date,” said Elmore.
“You can have a 20-plus year career if you want and you still enjoy it.”
In addition to training, Elmore is a role model to student-athletes at UBCO where she is the head coach of the track and cross country team.
The team has its sights set on the upcoming cross-country home opener race on Oct. 7.